PHILADELPHIA — Congressman Mark Foley (R-Fla.), head of the House Entertainment Industry Caucus, said Wednesday that a Republican or Democrat in the White House will likely take a similar tack approaching the growing chorus of public interest groups opposed to film and TV violence — and neither is likely to include heavy-handed regulatory solutions.
Republicans, now in the midst of their political convention, may be big on family values, but they’re equally concerned with keeping government from overreaching, said Foley, speaking at an event sponsored by the Creative Coalition, an organization founded and headed by actor William Baldwin.
In any case, the issue has become fully bipartisan.
Card-carrying liberal Steve Allen was also at the packed event and said, “There is a real problem here, and it’s not dreamed up by right-wing extremists.”
The two were speaking at a downtown theater and were joined as panelists by thesps Delroy Lindo and Daniel Stern and Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.), the widow of Sonny Bono and a member of the House Judiciary Committee.
Like a number of other groups, the coalition has scheduled a series of discussions during the GOP fest, offering an alternative to the scripted fare on the convention floor.
Philip Seymour Hoffman popped in as well. He’s in town for a documentary in which he’ll be the leader of a journey through the U.S. political process — including both conventions this summer.
Last week, the American Medical Assn., the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Psychological Assn. put out a statement noting that after 30 years of research and more than 1,000 studies, the public-health community has concluded that “viewing violent entertainment can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children.”
The issue isn’t going away, despite the industry’s insistence that parents should monitor their kids’ viewing habits, and the invocation of First Amendment rights. But, Foley said, solutions are much more complex than “Democrats pointing at Charlton Heston and the NRA or Republicans pointing at Hollywood.”
Foley and the Entertainment Industry Task Force were being honored Wednesday night at one of the hottest parties in town this week, sponsored by News Corp., Time Warner, Walt Disney, Viacom, the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Recording Industry Assn. of America.
Meanwhile, the GOP continued its own four-day show building up to the address by presumptive vice-presidential nominee Dick Cheney onWednesday night and George W. Bush’s speech accepting his party’s presidential nomination tonight.